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Update on High Efficiency Laser Designs for Airborne and Space-Based Lidar Applications F. Hovis, R. Burnham, M. Storm, R. Edwards, P. Burns, E. Sullivan, J. Edelman, K. Andes, B. Walters, K. Li, C. Culpepper, J. Rudd, X. Dang, J. Hwang, T. Wysocki Fibertek, Inc. Presentation Overview.

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Update on High Efficiency Laser Designs for Airborne and Space-Based Lidar ApplicationsF. Hovis, R. Burnham, M. Storm, R. Edwards, P. Burns, E. Sullivan, J. Edelman, K. Andes, B. Walters, K. Li, C. Culpepper, J. Rudd, X. Dang, J. Hwang, T. WysockiFibertek, Inc

presentation overview
Presentation Overview
  • Approaches to high efficiency lasers
  • ICESat-2 prototype laser design overview
    • Bulk Nd solid-state
  • High-efficiency, single-frequency ring laser development
    • NASA Phase 1 SBIR
    • Laser Vegetation Imaging System – Global Hawk (LVIS-GH) transmitter
  • Future design updates
icesat 2 laser requirements
ICESat-2 Laser Requirements
  • Original Laser Support Engineering Services (LSES) contract was to support rebuild of original ICESat laser for ICESat-2
    • 1064 nm
    • 50 mJ/pulse
    • 50 Hz
  • After LSES award the ICESat-2 design transitioned to micro-pulse lidar approach updates
fibertek design approaches
Fibertek Design Approaches
  • Diode-pumped, bulk solid-state 1 µm lasers
    • Transverse pumped
      • Well developed technology
      • Scaling to > 1 J/pulse, > 100 W demonstrated for fieldable systems
        • Maintaining M2 < 1.5 a challenge at higher powers
      • True wall plug efficiencies have been limited to ~7%
    • End pumped
      • Well developed technology
      • Power scaling has been limited by pump sources
      • High brightness and power, fiber-coupled pump sources are a rapidly developing and enabling technology
        • COTS devices with > 100 W CW from 200 µm core fibers are readily available
      • True wall plug efficiencies of >10% are possible
        • High efficiency is easier in low energy, high repetition rate systems
  • Fiber lasers
    • Ultimate high efficiency end pumped transmitters
      • Kilowatts of high beam quality have been demonstrated in CW lasers
      • High brightness and power, fiber-coupled pump sources are a rapidly developing and enabling technology
      • Energy scaling is key challenge
  • Technical maturity, efficiency, and schedule constraints led to choice of end-pumped, bulk solid-state solution
bulk solid state transmitter optical design overview
Bulk Solid State TransmitterOptical Design Overview
  • Bulk solid-state approach
    • Short pulse Nd:YVO4 oscillator
    • Nd:YVO4 preamp
    • Nd:YVO4 power amp
    • High brightness 880 nm fiber coupled pump diodes
      • Better mode overlap
      • Lower thermal loading

Transmitter Optical Bench

Oscillator

Amp

Preamp

SHG

short pulse oscillator
Short Pulse Oscillator

1 µm polarizer

880 nm HR

/4

  • Nd:YVO4 gain medium
    • Nd:YVO4 is more efficient
    • 1 ns pulses can be achieved in Nd:YVO4 at fluences well below optical damage thresholds
    • Relatively high absorption at 880 nm
  • Short linear cavity with electro-optic Q-switch
    • < 1.5 ns pulsewidth
    • Low timing jitter
  • High brightness 880 nm fiber coupled pump diodes
    • Better overlap with TEMoo mode
    • Lower thermal effects than 808 nm

Fiber

Coupling

Optics

Output coupler

Composite YVO4 rod with HR

Conduction Cooled

Diode Array

Pump Source

EO

Q-Switch

typical short pulse oscillator performance
Typical Short Pulse OscillatorPerformance

Beam profile at output coupler

X diameter = 291 µm

Y diameter = 295 µm

oscillator 1064nm linewidth
Oscillator 1064nm Linewidth
  • Oscillator is linewidth narrowed
  • Analyzer etalon resolution is 4.9 pm
    • 8 mm etalon
    • Reflectivity finesse 14
  • Linewidth = 5.9 pm
oscillator preamp results
Oscillator/Preamp Results

M2 = 1.3

Total output energy – 470 µJ

Extracted energy – 357 µJ

Pump power @ 10kHz 14.5 W

Optical to optical efficiency 24.6%

slide10

Amplifier Output vs. Total Diode Pump Power

>18% Optical to optical efficiency at 532 nm

bulk solid state 532nm beam quality vs amp pump power
Bulk Solid-State 532nm Beam Quality vs. Amp Pump Power

Beam quality improves at lower amp pump powers

solid state brassboard full transmitter performance summary
Solid State Brassboard Full Transmitter Performance Summary
  • Laser meets specifications for
    • Energy: achieved 12.9W at 532nm
      • 68% conversion efficiency from 1064nm to 532nm in LBO
    • 532nm laser energy can be tuned with 2 methods:
      • Adjust power amplifier pump power
      • Adjust timing between Q-switch pulse and amplifiers.
        • Constant input power
        • Data shows NO change in divergence or pointing.
    • 532 nm beam quality: ~ 1.2
    • 532 nm pulsewidth: <1.3ns
    • 532 nm linewidth: <16 pm with etalon OC
      • Instrument limited
      • Fully linewidth narrowed oscillator not yet incorporated
    • Pointing stability at 1064nm: 2% of the divergence
engineering design unit edu
Engineering Design Unit (EDU)
  • Dual compartment design derived from wind lidar transmitter
  • Integrated electronics module
  • Delivered to GSFC in December 2011
    • 9 W at 532 nm
      • Adjustable down to 2.5 W
    • Wall plug efficiency > 5%
    • 532 nm linewidth <5 pm
    • M2 of 1.2
    • 1.4 ns pulsewidth

EDU in operation at GSFC

Electronics module

Laser module

ongoing lifetime testing
Ongoing Lifetime Testing

Amp modules

  • 4 fiber coupled diode pump modules
  • Short pulse oscillator
  • Brassboard MOPA

Preamp module

Oscillator module

Pump module life test results

Short pulse oscillator life test results

Brassboard MOPA life test results

transition to trl 6
Transition to TRL 6

Mechanical integrity of laser canister has been verified at full random vibration levels (14.1 grms)

Seal testing of the canister has verified leak rates that are compatible with a > 5 year mission

Preparations for operational thermal/vacuum testing are underway

Random vibration testing of the fully assembled laser will follow

Vibration testing of laser canister

high efficiency single frequency ring laser development
High-Efficiency, Single-Frequency Ring Laser Development
  • Synthesis of other Fibertek development work
    • High efficiency bulk solid-state gain media
    • Single- frequency ring lasers
    • Robust packing designs for field applications
  • Appropriate design for longer pulsewidth applications
    • ≥ 3 ns
    • Lidar systems for winds, clouds, aerosols, vegetation canopy, ozone, ……..
  • Initial work supported by NASA Phase 1 SBIR
  • Phase 1 SBIR led to contract for Laser Vegetation Imaging Sensor – Global Hawk (LVIS-GH) lidar transmitter

LVIS short pulse ring oscillator

1064 nm output

Fiber coupled 880 nm pump

5X output telescope

End pumped Nd:YVO4 or Nd:YAG

final optical bench performance test results
Final Optical Bench Performance Test Results

1After internal 5X telescope with thermal interface varied from 15°C to 24°C

2Some loss of efficiency due to output coupling set for faster pulse decay time. >10% achieved with output coupling optimized for efficiency

lvis laser canister dual compartment hermetic design
LVIS Laser CanisterDual Compartment Hermetic Design

Dual compartment canister 9.5 in x 5 in x 5 in

lvis status
LVIS Status
  • Optical bench is fully integrated and tested
  • Seal testing of the canister has verified leak rates that are compatible with a > 5 year mission
  • Electronics module is fully assembled and tested
  • Integration of the opical bench into the laser canister is underway
  • Delivery to GSFC is planned for laate February 2011
future work
Future Work
  • Funded NASA Phase 2 SBIR
  • Injection seeding
    • Modified ramp & fire approach
    • Scale to > 2 kHz
  • Power scaling
    • End pumped amplifier
    • Derived from ICESat-2 and Phase 1 designs
  • Field hardened packaging
    • Sealed for high altitude use
    • Dual compartment
    • Separate electronics module
  • Suitable for multiple near and longer term applications
    • HSRL 1 transmitter replacement
    • Hurricane & Severe Storm Sentinel transmitter
    • Next generation aerosol lidars
    • Pump for methane lidar
    • Pump for ozone lidar
acknowledgements
Acknowledgements

Support for this work was provided by Goddard Space Flight Center and the NASA SBIR office